5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

[Written By: Landrie Ethredge]

We all know how tough the holidays can be! Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you prepare.

1. Physical Needs Come First!

We often think of our brain and body as separate, but they are fully and wholly integrated. If we want to take care of our body, we must address our mental health. Likewise, if we want to feel good emotionally and mentally, taking care of our basic physical needs are paramount. Start your day with a full glass of water, nourish your body with nutrient dense foods and proteins, make a goal of moving your body daily in a significant way that feels good to you (learn more here), and prioritize getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Your brain will thank you!!

2. Tap Into Your Breath!

Simply pausing to take 3 full breaths with long, slow exhales is an incredibly effective way to ground your nervous system. By pausing to focus on your breath, you will more easily be able to take note of your emotions and what they are trying to communicate. Emotions are our dearest allies in improving our mental wellbeing. Emotions help us know what we need (eg rest, connection, fun, boundaries, etc). Practice pausing 3 times daily to breathe and check in with your emotions, noticing without judgment what they are wanting us to hear. 

3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive!

Identify your personal danger zones. This might be a topic of conversation (e.g. politics, past conflicts), unsafe people (e.g. abusers, enablers, etc), places (eg a childhood home), or H.A.L.T  (i.e. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). Create a plan for yourself to proactively care for your wellbeing. This could mean limiting time with a particular family member, or scheduling short breaks for yourself. Or perhaps switching out a glass of wine for a calming herbal tea! Boundaries with ourselves and others help us protect ourselves and our relationships, rather than putting ourselves in vulnerable positions, leading to reactive and harmful decisions and behaviors.

4. Create a Mantra!

This has been pivotal in my own life! I recommend creating a short phrase you can repeat to yourself, reminding yourself of what is true. A mantra acts as an anchor and guiding light. Common mantras or affirmations might sound something like the following:

  • I am safe, I am good, I am lovable, I am strong. 
  • I choose joy over perfection. 
  • I inhale peace, and exhale worry. 
  • I can use my voice and stand up for myself. 
  • I will be the person my dog believes me to be! (Remember to laugh! A wonderful way to settle our nervous systems! :)

5. Be realistic!

Change takes time, and baby steps are often better than attempting a sweeping overhaul. Focus on a few things you can incorporate to center yourself. Be realistic about your time, your physical and emotional needs, etc. Remember, you are a treasure and worth valuing. In a time of year when we focus on love and generosity, don’t forget to show love and care for yourself, too.